How is a trend born and what does it mean for your business strategy?

There’s no doubt that what we do here at WGSN – trend forecasting – is always met with a bit of confusion, curiosity and intrigue. With a global team of first class editors attending numerous yearly trade shows, festivals, emerging markets and new stores, we use a formula that combines maths and magic to track the trends that you see unfolding on a daily basis. The maths = global retail data across key industries, and the magic= our science of analysing today’s micro and macro cultural moments.

Trends are absolutely at the heart of what we do – and they’re important for every brand, whether you’re riding the crest of a trend or seeking to get in there first and be an early adopter.

photo credit: Toa Heftiba

Trends are all around us. We see them in what we eat, where we live and how we connect with each other. And whether we’re aware of it or not, they dictate the products we want and the services we crave. Smart phones. Co-working spaces. Green juice. We know the trends that define our daily lives. Yet what we often fail to notice is the interconnections. Co-working spaces emerged to fill the new needs of a “creative class”, while holding a green juice became a status item in a world where wellness carries more social cachet than wealth.

Mega trends last for years, or decades. By identifying trends before they reach critical mass, companies can tap into unlimited potential growth. To do so, they must connect the dots between influences to identify macro trends, filter them into their own brand DNA, and innovate at the right time for their customer.

Succeeding at forecasting can quite simply make or break the largest companies of our time. Look at the classic example of Amazon: in less than two decades, Amazon grew from a small start-up trying to convince consumers to trust the internet to one of the world’s largest companies. From their roots in e-commerce to the launch of the Kindle, and their current investment in artificial intelligence, they have boldly invested in trends, even when a short-term view suggested they were putting their company at risk.

photo credit: Sebastian Kanczok

Over the past 18 years, we at WGSN have honed a process to discern macro trends and adapt them for our clients. Our brand new white paper ‘The Anatomy of a Trend’, explores how WGSN forecasts trends and looks at two of the largest movements of our time – Artisan and Wellness –  to illustrate what signals businesses should be looking towards to stay on the right side of change.

Download it here to find out more.


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